A month of records, featuring 26 winners that contributed towards providing an incredible £1.35 million in prize-money in July, ensuring that, for the first time, we find ourselves at the head of the trainers’ championship entering August!
Alcohol Free Celebrations
Alcohol Free proved herself an exceptional filly when winning her second Group 1 in the Coronation Stakes and things hadn’t gone her way in the Falmouth on her next outing, where she nevertheless ran a brilliant race in defeat behind Snow Lantern.
Back on soft ground and ridden with more restraint, she produced the best performance of her career to date in the Qatar Sussex Stakes, picking up really strongly to hit the front entering the final furlong and drawing clear at the line. Taking on the colts and older horses for the first time, she turned the tables on Snow Lantern and also got the better of the 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace winner Poetic Flare. In doing so, she provided her owner Jeff Smith with a second Sussex Stakes, 37 years after his first with Chief Singer, whilst also becoming the first filly to win the race since Soviet Song in 2004.
She is the horse of a lifetime and could yet step up in trip to contest the Juddmonte International at York in mid-August.
More Stakes Success
King Power’s Bangkok has been such a wonderful flagbearer for his owners in recent seasons and he recorded his first success at Group 2 level when getting up in the dying strides in the Sky Bet York Stakes under an excellent ride from David Probert, for whom it was a case of third time lucky on the horse, having been beaten a short head and a nose on his previous two attempts! A tremendously tough campaigner, Bangkok looks better than ever as a five year old and hopefully can add further to his tally this term.
Sandrine faced very different conditions to her heavy-ground Albany win when looking to make it three from three in the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at the July meeting, but Kirsten Rausing’s homebred daughter of Bobby’s Kitten duly recorded the hat-trick in fine style, in doing so cementing her position as the highest-rated two-year-old filly in training. She holds an entry in the Lowther at York, but the main target for the remainder of the season will be to try and emulate her stablemate Alcohol Free’s success last year in the Cheveley Park in September.
Another filly to gain black-type success this month was Auria, who came home clear in the Listed Coral Distaff at Sandown Park. She was given a well-judged front-running ride by Oisin Murphy, but nonetheless looked value for the win and the half-sister to recent Group 3 winner Chil Chil looks capable of making her mark at a higher level.
Two cups and 100 Kingsclere wins for King Power
We were delighted to land a second John Smith’s Cup in the past three years for King Power, with Johnny Drama following in the hoofprints of 2019 winner Pivoine. He was given an excellent ride by Joshua Bryan, for whom it was the biggest winner of his career to date, and he has since run very creditably in defeat at Goodwood. A four-time winner on the All-Weather late last year, he continues in fine form and there could be another nice prize in him this season.
King Power also saw their colours carried to victory in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock, with Silvestre De Sousa doing the steering on Alounak, who was gaining his first success in the UK. He has since run very well back at Group level at Goodwood and looks to be rediscovering his best form.
July 2021 proved to be King Power’s most successful month on record numerically and Mercurius Power gave his owners another winner when getting up close home under Joshua Bryan at Chepstow. He got the better of a big improver (that has won again since) there and a 3lbs rise could well prove to be lenient.
Good Birthday wasn’t at his best last term, but the King Power-owned five year old has been rejuvenated by the application of a visor this year and he recorded his second success of the season with a battling win in a Class 2 handicap at Doncaster under Jason Watson, providing us with our 100th winner for King Power Racing, who have been tremendous supporters of the yard in recent years. Good Birthday has run well in each of the last two renewals of the Cambridgeshire and that is a possible target again this year.
Three year olds on the up
Classic Lord is a really tough and progressive three year old and he was winning for the second time this season when scoring narrowly at Sandown Park under Oisin Murphy. He is going from strength to strength as a stayer for his owners in the Park House Partnership and holds an entry in the St Leger later this season. Another three year old for whom we have high hopes is Jonathan Palmer-Brown’s Oo De Lally, who was another to win his second of the campaign this month, William Carver producing him with a well-timed effort to land a Class 2 handicap at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. He is developing a fine winning record and is a very bright prospect for the remainder of 2021 and beyond. Achelois was another to win at Goodwood, one of five during a memorable week that saw us win the ‘leading trainer’ award. The daughter of Zoffany, who had also won her previous start at Ascot in great style, races in the colours of the Thurloe Thoroughbreds who donate 25% of her winnings to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, a wonderful cause. We are delighted that they have a talented, progressive filly on their hands.
Roscioli had shown plenty of good form in defeat prior to striking at the eighth time of asking, but he chose a good day to do so, winning a valuable handicap on the first day of the new Racing League at Newcastle under Hayley Turner. The Philip Fox-owned son of Territories was stepping beyond a mile for the first time and this win opens up plenty of options for him going forwards.
A winner at Bath last term, The Kodi Kid had take a couple of runs to find his feet this time around, but bounced back to form with a comfortable win at Chester under William Carver. He should remain competitive off a 5lbs higher mark, while fellow Park House Partnership three-year-old Winterwatch looks feasibly-treated off an opening rating of 75, having won at the third time of asking in a four-runner contest at Catterick under Josh Bryan. By the same sire as fellow PHP winner Classic Lord, he is another young stayer with potential to progress.
A winner at two last year, Dejame Paso has made great strides this term, and added to last month’s Sandown success with another decisive win for owner Nick Watts, this time at York in the hands of Hayley Turner. The son of The Gurkha looks to be on a sharp upward curve at present.
We sent two three year olds to Ffos Las for the Welsh course’s first flat meeting of the year and were rewarded with two winners, Mick and Janice Mariscotti’s Neenee’s Choice making all to win at the third time of asking over a mile and George Strawbridge’s Valley Forge making it fourth time lucky with a game success over 1m4f, with Oisin Murphy on board for both successes.
Our nine two-year-old successes in July was a joint-highest monthly tally and as well as Sandrine’s Group 2 triumph, there were some highly promising performances.
We were delighted to win two maidens at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, with Wilderness Girl winning the 7f fillies’ contest for Cornthrop Bloodstock. The daughter of No Nay Never had shown plenty of promise on her debut at Newmarket and duly stepped up to win in the style of a filly capable of holding her own at a higher level. Two days later, Imperial Fighter landed the 7f contest for colts & geldings, defying his inexperience to make a winning debut in the colours of Michael Blencowe. He handled the testing conditions very well and looks a very exciting prospect.
Dubai Jewel became our first winner in the famous colours of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum when landing a 6f novice contest at Windsor under Andrea Atzeni, making all the running. She had finished second to a subsequent Group 3 winner on her previous outing, so her form looks strong and she looks capable of stepping up in grade in due course. That sentiment also applies to Star From Afarhh, who made a winning debut in a small-field novice over 7f at Newmarket in mid-month under James Doyle. The Bridget Drew & Partners-owned juvenile is out of a Listed-placed mare and she should appreciate further in time.
Frankella had finished unplaced on her first two outings, but she showed much-improved form to win a competitive maiden at Newmarket’s July meeting for owner Jeff Smith. She has tasted defeat on two occasions since, but doesn’t yet look the finished article and the daughter of Frankel and Juddmonte International winner Arabian Queen looks sure to progress with time.
Majestic Glory is another daughter of Frankel to have got off the mark at Newmarket in July, making most to win in great style in a competitive novice under Hayley Turner. She is progressing nicely and is another for whom we have aspirations of stepping up in grade.
Robasta became our first nursery winner of the year when gaining a neck success at Ascot in the hands of Rob Hornby for Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum. The son of young sire sensation Mehmas may not have seen out the trip at Goodwood next time and remains capable of further success off his mark.
Bellport took a step forwards on her fourth career start to shed her maiden tag at Epsom, with David Probert on board. The Anita Wigan-owned daughter of Bated Breath is a half-sister to a Group 2 winner and, while the win will have enhanced her paddock value, hopefully it can also prove to be the catalyst for improvement in the second half of the campaign.